Harley Davidson Not Starting

Question I have a 2010 ultra classic with ABS. It is not starting. The battery voltage is 12.75 off the battery. turn the main switch on and I get a drop to 12.5 and when the kill switch is turned on it get a drop to 12.38, the self test goes out and Hit the start switch with nothing. no volt drop no starter engage or nothing. DEAD. check the voltage at the kill switch and get 12.3 from the black and white wire that goes to the kill switch and the start button. but i only get 9.2 volts from the black and red wire from the start switch to the start relay. all the fuses are good and there is 12 volts to the starter and the solenoid. Have tried new system relay and start relay.

Answer Hi Michael, Thanks for the email. Have you watched our electrical Class videos and the jumping the starter video?

Note from the guys:

Michael, you are definitely approaching this the right way. That black wire with the red tracer should be sending 12v to the starter relay. Be sure that this wire is not damaged or pinched anywhere in its travel. This will be more common when wires have been routed through the bars, or switch housings/switches have been changed. Don’t forget to use your multimeter inside the switch housings too. You can check the start switch directly. Try jumping 12 volts directly from the battery to where this blk/red wire enters the relay plug. See what the outcome is. You may also want to try this with the blk/red wire removed from the relay plug. If you can start the bike this way; the start switch is probably bad, or a wire may be damaged. Some other ideas: problem with security module or key FOB. — Problem with clutch safety switch, or its wiring (if bike has it). — Bad relay (like you said). Let us know what you find. Sounds like you know what you are doing.

Check out some of our related electrical videos here for some more information.

Hogger Michael Follow Up:

You are not going to believe this – but – it was the battery in the key fob. The bike has to have a signal from the key fob before it will allow the bike to start.

This is all part of what they call: TSM/TSSM/HFSM
The TSM is the – turn signal module
The TSSM is the – turn signal security module ( Japan & Korean markets only)
The HFSM is the – hands free security module. (this is what I have)

I asked the dealer is they could test the ECM & they said yes if it on the bike. I told them that the bike would not start that was why I wanted to bring in the ECM to be tested before I spend $400.00 or more on a new one.

The mechanic on the phone said to look at the TSM/TSSM – that it sounded like the problem area instead of the ECM. Looking in the repair manual on the TSM/TSSM/HFSM it made a reference to another paragraph on maintenance – the first statement said the key fob battery needs to be chg every 2 years.

My key fob battery is three years old – changed them and the bike now starts. The key fob battery is only a 3V system.
I checked the battery voltage on the old battery just to see what it was – 2.5 Volts. And that was not enough to send a signal.

Check out these related Videos:

Starter Sprag Clutch
Starter Install
Tips on Testing the Starter

Related Questions:

Starter Tips
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38 Responses to “Harley Davidson Not Starting”
  1. KEN

    my sportster gets fire to the front cylinder but not the back and does not change fire from front to rear when turning the engine over. it would kick nlast week but now does nothing please help. it is a 93 5 speed

    • Customer Service Techs

      Hi, Ken. CHECK: proper voltage to the coil. Spark plug condition/gap. Condition of plug wires. Condition of battery. Test for spark on front & rear cylinders. If you only have spark on the front cylinder, swap plug wires (front to rear, rear to front ). Now see if you (only) have spark on the rear cylinder. If you do not have power to the coil; Use a small jumper wire and power your coil directly from the battery. This will will bypass your harness and switches. If this gives you proper voltage/spark, you need to repair a dead short or break somewhere in your wiring harness.
      If you have a Tachometer, disconnect it. A bad tach can interrupt proper coil function.

  2. Kevin

    I had a similar issue with my 08 ultra. Key fob battery was dead. Discovered that with a good battery in the fob when I turn ignition to on I can hear the fuel pump charging the system. When the fob is out of range everything works except the fuel pump. Hence the no start issue.

  3. Bob

    Thank you a thousand times over. I spent Over two hours checking every electrical item I could.
    Read your post changed battery in my POD and my Harley started right up.

    Thanks again


    • Customer Service Techs

      Hi, Lee. Our videos cover years 1984 through present. We apologize for any inconvenience.

  4. NOEL acevedo

    I haveA 1999 road king have not rode it in about three years ,gas tank had treatment ,has been started and ran fine however tried to start, will start with choke on. Sprayed carburetor with carb cleaner still starts only on choke ,goes off when choke is taken off.

  5. Brin

    I’ll try to make this short and to the point so you will understand the non starting issues on my 1991 FLHCU. Bike was running before I parked it. Now the starter will not engage In turning the engine over, all I get is a very loud click at the starter with the engine kill/start in the kill position/key on and seems to back feed through the system. With the same switch now in the run position there is no loud click atop the starter. I replaced the starter relay and still the same problem. I can get the engine to turn over by jumping it directly at the battery/ and the small wire that goes to the are. I also replaced the run/kill/start rocker switch’s and still the same issues. Please help me, I went as far as removing the outer fairing trying to locate the grey/white/black wires from the run/kill/start rocker switch’s thinking a wire was off or destroyed and I can’t find them, I also tried to locate the wires from the starter relay into the fairing and I can’t find them either. But I really think that’s its starring me in the face and I don’t see it. Besides parking my Harley, all I did was remove entire the exhaust system I know the battery is good, starter is good and I believe the starter relay is good
    Bloomington, IL
    Help me as I just can’t find the problem.(S)

    • Customer Service Techs

      Hi Brin. You seem to have a good understanding of your electrical system.
      You need to eliminate areas until you can zone in on the problem.
      You already began doing that by powering the starter directly. Doing so, you eliminated the entire harness.
      You should not have anything happening with your run/off switch in the off position. Check the fitment of your switch inside the switch housing. Also, inspect the right side switch harness.
      Unplug your right side switches from the main harness. With a jumper lead, put 12 volts to the black (or black w/red tracer) wire and see what your results are.
      Also, find your starter relay. Make sure that the red wire (#30 in the relay plug) is correctly powered when ignition switch is on. Make sure that the black wire #85 has a good ground.


  6. brian fannin

    I have a 2003 ultra classic I started it up to let it run a little while like I do every day or two. at least every two days. today I started it up it ran for ten to fifteen mins and it quit. ok tried to start it back and it just cranks.now I didn’t try to start it up after a few mins because I was pissed. what would u try to do to fix this issue

    • Customer Service Techs

      Hi, Brian. Starting so often without riding is more harmful than good. The charging system on your motorcycle is not like your car’s. You need to ride in order for your charging system to charge to its fullest capacity. Also, you can create condensation in your fuel tank by continuously warming your motor beneath the tank, which holds the same batch of fuel. We would suggest looking to see if you have any trouble codes.
      You may have a bad crank position sensor.


    • Customer Service Techs

      Hi, Javi. Our videos/articles cover years 1984-present, and we do not currently have any information on shovelheads. We apologize for any inconvenience.

  7. Chuk

    My 2008 daynasuper glide isn’t getting power to the starter switch when you turn the key on you caint here the electric fuel pump come Ina’s you used to it doesn’t make any noise

  8. joe

    I have a 2002 fxsti softail it sat for a year with out starting on empty tank. Four years ago i replaced the pump and regulator and hose.. i had the same problem then. Is there a way to test those parts with out taking them out.

  9. Gene lewis

    Bike running good no problems ran lowon fuel did not run out but low road next day 10 mins later road to fuel up 100 percent gas road around about 20 miles in town next day did not ride today tried to start ran about 3-4 seconds died tried about 8 times went and bought new plugs gaped them still the same tryies to start help

    • Customer Service Techs

      Hi, Gene! Can you please tell us the year and model of your bike? (ZD: 3314)

  10. Pam

    I have a 2009 HD trike.I have changed the battery out and sometimes it won’t start. it acts like it’s not even connecting.other times it will click once. What can I look for?

  11. Christopher Booker

    Hi I have a 93 sportster the starter solenoid will click but the starter does nothing new relay new starter.if you rock the bike I gear the starter works ?? Checked the grounds battery fully charged please help thanks chris

  12. Donn cyr

    Have a 2013 ultra classic 103 cu in motor. I put a set of slip ins on bike today and had to knock them on with 2×4 and a hammer didn’t slip on to easy. Well now bike won’t start just pops at the starter any clue on how to fix this problem it’s my only transportation thank you in advance

  13. John

    I have a 2011 electro classic 103″. Battery seems to be charged, won’t start, just clatter?

  14. Christopher Sampson

    Accessory /lights come on
    Turn to ignition switch/nothing comes on
    Won’t start

    • Christopher Sampson

      Accessory /lights come on
      Turn to ignition switch/nothing comes on
      Won’t start/charge didn’t take /fuses are good

      • Customer Service Techs

        Hi, Christopher! Can you please let us know the make/year of your bike?

  15. Lee

    Is there anything special I should do before attempting to start my 93 Fat Boy after it’s been sitting for 2 years?

  16. trace

    I have a 1998 sportster and I’m not getting any spark. So far I’ve replaced the battery new plugs and wires and the coil. Also checked the fuses all good. Only thing i can find is I’m only getting voltage to one side of coil, any ideas?

  17. Harland R.

    2016 Freestyle, intermittent won’t start since new, but can’t duplicate for diagnostics. This has happened five times. Commonalities when this happens:

    – Parking brake won’t set – I push the pedal down but it doesn’t latch.

    – Neutral light will not illuminate – No amount of fu’ss’ing with the shifter will illuminate the green N, even though the shifter seems to be in the neutral detent. Cycle will not roll until clutch lever is pulled, so it isn’t getting into neutral. Other cycle owners can’t find neutral for me, either.

    – Seems to be only when engine is warmed up. Have not had this problem when engine is cold.

    – After 30 seconds to an hour, problem suddenly goes away, everything works as it should, and engine starts normally.

    First time this happened was in a parking lot after shopping. Attracted plenty of attention from other cycle-owners parked nearby. Nobody else could get it started, which vindicated this 80-year-old. I tend to assume it’s operator error when I see a white-haired old fat-guy that can’t walk having problems; Especially when the white-haired old fat-guy is me. After almost an hour, I moved the key fob from the ‘trunk’ to my pocket and everything worked. Since then, though, where the fob is doesn’t seem to matter.

    Does anyone have experience with this issue?

  18. Marcus Palmer

    95 fat boy softail. Problems starting. ..intermittent. Replaced voltage regulator, solenoid, relays and starter kit. Installed battery tender for quick top up charge. Here’s the problem. ..can charge overnight, then ride 100 150 kms stop for gas and just clicks. ..sometimes I roll it back a few feet and it starts. ..other times I need to plug in battery charger for half hour or more. Driving me insane. ..any insights or help very much appreciated. Thanks!